Father's Day is this weekend, so we're taking this moment to write personal stories about our own dads and their influence on our lives, making us active, mulit-sports playing, obsessive runners. (If you still need to get dad a gift, there's this). Dad stories from Katy Kawasoe & Beth Weinstein:
I'm lucky, I grew up with two dads. Thankfully I still have one living here on this planet. I had a dad who raised me, who I lived with until the age of 12-13 or so. Then I have my stepdad, John, who entered my life when I was 14 or so. Both great dad's, both were huge influences on my life, and luckily, both shared in my love of sports, running and having an active life.
As of next month, it will have been ten years since my dad passed away. As I've written before here, his sudden sickness and loss came just a couple months before my first ever marathon, when I was in hardcore marathon training mode. I wonder if I might have lost my mind if I hadn't had to go for long runs during that time! Thankfully, running was there for me to keep me sane, and is probably one of the reasons running changed my life.
My dad had a big impact on my love for sports and fitness. He always liked sports. Some of my fondest memories are of driving to Candlestick Park to see the San Francisco Giants play, and my dad singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the 7th Inning Stretch. I clearly remember him teaching me the words, waving his arms like a conductor as we sang, and actually eating lots of peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I also have memories of rolling my eyes when he wanted to watch golf tournaments on the weekends, when I just wanted to watch cartoons. I hated golf, I may have even cried because of his golf tournaments. Now that I'm older, and have actually golfed myself, I get it...it's a great sport (well, for if/when I (n)ever quit running). I also remember my dad teaching me about boxing while watching prize fights on Saturday nights. I remember wanting to watch scary movies, not boxing. And being a kid, I didn't understand how hitting people could be a "sport". A few years ago, I took up (non-contact!) boxing as part of my running cross-training, and I finally understood the beauty of it (and understood the pain and hardcore full-body workout!) My dad would often play catch with me in the yard, drive me to soccer games, and constantly repeat "keep your eye on the ball" during my softball games. He taught me how to swing a golf club the "right" way, and I've had my share of laughs with him at the driving range (me laughing, him getting frustrated with my horrendous swing).
My step-dad, John, is a former runner, tennis player, current golfer and a die hard Red Sox (and Patriots and Celtics) fan. He's also a big UNC TarHeels basketball, football and baseball fan. John goes on long walks almost daily, making sure he stays in shape and clears his head. He also golfs a lot, does lots of yard work, and basically "can't sit still". Sounds familiar? Yeah, me too. John used to play tennis weekly and run often, but had one of those serious knee surgeries a while back, and decided to take up golf. I guess it got to that point where regular running just wasn't worth the pain and annoyance in the knees. God help me if that day ever comes (never!!) John thankfully keeps me updated on sports throughout the year, since I don't have the kind of free time to follow NCAA basketball or the Red Sox in MLB standings anymore. John used to take me to pitching training sessions back in high school, when my new school's coach had a brilliant idea to make me a pitcher (horrible idea). John would patiently catch for me, over and over and over, while I got upset that only one of every six pitches was a strike. I've also spent time at the driving range and golf course with John. Talk about patient, ha! Me on the golf course is a true test of one's patience. Let's just say I've been known to spend a lot of time not on the greens...
It's nice to have grown up with two very active, supportive, sports-loving father's...to be able to share sports together, tell them about my games, my running races, race accomplishments and goals. I'm beyond grateful for my two dad's this Father's Day. Without them, there'd be no OnlyAtoms, no running, no appreciation for the beauty of sports and the capabilities of the human body, and spirit. Thank you dads!
Father's Day has always been an incredibly special holiday to me for a number of reasons. When I was an insane and hard to handle teenager, my mom hit the road and my dad had to take over full time. Dealing with teenage girls is such a nightmare in and of itself and for my dad to take it on like a champ will always mean more to me than anything in the world. He is the reason I am who I am today and he is my inspiration in everything I do. After all that he has put up with, and all that he has done for me, I always try and take advantage of Father's Day because it's finally my opportunity to thank him for all his courageous, and patient efforts in my life.
Going way back to when my dad was a kid (a pretty long time ago-- think Portland Trail Blazer National Championship era), he was an all around athlete, playing football, basketball, baseball, riding his bike, going for runs, working out in what was probably a pretty cool weight room at the time, swimming, and lots of golfing. My grandpa is a hall of fame football and golf coach, so sports consumed all of their time. Between the two of them, I think they could probably win any sports trivia known to man, and they can inform you on any current or past sports event, along with all the players, etc. It's impressive, if you ask me. So, my dad, the Portland Trail Blazer, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oregon Ducks, Los Angeles Dodgers, sports fanatic, took his skills to Boise State University where he played on the golf team. Now, he is a Golf Pro. I know, the job that all men dream of having.
His love for sports transpired into my life, and I've played every sport possible for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, my dad and I used to go on runs together and push each other to keep going, never letting the other stop to walk. We did it to train for our other sports, but never thought of it as a hobby. It wasn't until I was in high school that I decided to join the cross country team, and really take running seriously. Being the amazing supporter that he is, my dad learned to love running just as much as I now do.
My dad liked the fact that I was always involved in a sport, especially running because it helped me to clear my head, and it kept me [somewhat] sane. He used sports to mentor me in other aspects of my life. For example, my dad has always used two quotes to guide me: 1. "Losers make excuses, winners find ways," and Both quotes come from athletics, but he taught me how to use those quotes to hold myself accountable in the classroom, in my job, and everywhere that I went. He has always led by example on how to carry leadership, perseverance, patience, teamwork, charisma, and integrity in life in general. Whenever I got down on myself and felt like I wasn't up to par (pun intended), he would encourage me to go run or to go exercise to release any negativity and work out all the kinks in my life.
I've always wanted to be everything that my dad is. In all that I've done, he has never given up on me, and I know that in everything I do, I will always have his support. I know for a fact that my dad would literally walk through fire if it meant protecting me (or anyone in my family, for that matter). My dad is selfless and he has more wisdom than I could ever fathom having. I just hope that over the years some of it has rubbed off on me.
I cherish our Sundays after the Oregon Coast Invitational (a huge golf tournament that he runs in July) where he takes the day off and we go golfing. I cherish the times we go to the gym and he kicks my butt in one on one even though he's an old man, and I tell everyone that I let him win. I cherish the times we used to run to the market and back and both have to take our inhalers to calm our asthma when we got home. I cherish all the sporting events we've gone to together because it bonds us in a way that no one could ever understand.
If it weren't for my dad and his activeness, I would have so much negativity in my life. He inspires me keep going, no matter what kind of hardship I take on in my life. It's unbelievable how well my dad can deal with adversity, and I am so thankful that he has taught me how to as well. The strength and dignity that my dad carries is something that tons of people aspire to have. I am so incredibly lucky to have my dad in my life. There is no way I would be here today if it weren't for him. Thank you, dad!
Do you think your dad(s) had an influence on your active lifestyle? Did you play sports or run with your dad? Do you still run with your dad? Let us know, ping us at OnlyAtoms on Twitter, Facebook or @OnlyAtomsNYC on Instagram.